Strategic Positioning in an Extreme Sellers’ Market
Key factors that will help you win the bid and protect your financial commitment
In an extreme sellers’ market most of the risk is borne by the buyer. This is because so many other people are fighting for the same home that almost any option will generate massive interest from the rest of the public. Inventory is at all time lows and affordability is still somewhat strong. Until affordability eliminates a significant amount of the buyer segment, you will not be able to move forward on purchasing your next home or investment home without major competition. But, there is hope! There are many ways to ensure your success in a multiple bidding situation; and most of them have to do with having the right guidance and resources at your fingertips.
This article will not cover one of the key benefits of having well connected guides that can help you find off market opportunities, as that will be covered in another upcoming article.
So, where do you start?
First, know yourself! Just because you think you’re capable of anything you decide to do, doesn’t eliminate the extreme value of building your team. John Maxwell often says “Teamwork makes the Dream Work”. So, get started!
Here are the key people and strategies you will find to be invaluable:
- Friends who are well connected - Share with people you know who know people. Tell them your objectives and ask for their help. It’s always best to request that they let you know who they talk to; rather than them just giving your name and contact information to their prospective seller friend
- Home Inspector - This will have to be someone who is readily available to see the house at the same time you see it, within 24 hours of when you see it or at minimum before the offer deadline. Most inspectors take 3 hours to complete an inspection and take 24-48 hours to provide a written report with photos. This is not what you want. You are looking for a reputable, experienced home inspector who provides a “visual inspection”. This is a high level, shortened version of the full inspection that pays attention to the areas where the most money could be spent if not in good working condition
- Roofing/HVAC contractor – Since home inspectors are “generalists”, they can only share what they think might be a potential issue. When it comes to the major components of a home, a roofer and an HVAC contractor are the experts in some of the most expensive items to replace. If siding is a potential issue, add that to your list. These contractors will have to be readily available and you will likely have to pay for them to take a look. This cannot be done without permission of the seller and are usually not accessed before you have a ratified contract (when it’s too late).
- Residential Property Disclosure – In NC, a seller is required to disclose the condition of all major systems. It is often a simple “No” issues or “Yes” there are issues. Some sellers, under the advice of their agent, provide additional details such as the age of the roof or HVAC or the hot water heater, appliances, etc.
- Cosmetic Contractors – This includes flooring, paint, general contractor (for more substantial renovations), etc. You would illicit advice and insights from these people if the home is in need of updating
- MOLD remediation company – A home inspector can identify “fungal growth” but they are not experts that can determine what is mold and what is not. Often times fungal growth would have to have a sample taken to a testing lab in order to determine if it is harmful mold or not. An expert in this field can provide a general sense as to how significant this concern might be. And again, this would have to be a trusted, reputable and available person.
- Established Real Estate professional – As you consider all of the above players, this is, perhaps your most valuable player. An established agent who is well connected can provide access to all or most of the above contractors. They can also make you aware of upcoming opportunities that very few, if anyone else knows about. If they have been in the business for a while they also have years of experience watching home inspectors and reviewing pages of reports from hundreds of inspections. Be aware that a real estate professional is typically not licensed in any of the areas (above) outside of real estate. That said, they can and often will point you to potential areas of concern. They actually have a responsibility to disclose anything that would be considered “material fact”. This simply means that if it could be reasonably discovered, your agent has the responsibility to share it with you. This could relate to “approved roads”, nearby developments, adjoining land use, etc. Mostly, you’ll want to know if there are systems that are not functioning as they should, and this should come from the seller (if occupied and they have knowledge of it and choose to disclose). Lastly, you are looking for an agent with a good reputation amongst their piers. This often means they are tactful in their negotiating, considerate and pleasant to work with on a sale, solution based, thorough in regard to details and reliable to get the job done for you and for all the parties involved.
At the end of the day, the process can be daunting if you have the wrong team of people in place. The right people will be available, will set realistic expectations and will be experienced in their area of expertise. Look at the track record. Choose wisely, you and your family deserves it and making a great decision will often bring peace of mind for years to come.